Wednesday 24 April 2019

A Reed Warbler was singing in the reed bed under the Diana fountain, and so was another in a tree on the far side of the Lido.

They have been reluctant to occupy the reed bed, and have stayed in the bushes for several days. The reeds are now getting thin and straggly because they have not been cut down every two winters as they should have been to keep them thick and healthy.

One of the Mistle Thrushes near the Dell found a worm and went off to feed it to its nestlings.

A Blackbird on Buck Hill was also looking for food for its young, had found a worm and some larvae, and was searching for more.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was again in the oak next to its new nest tree, but hard to see among the leaves.

There was a Green Woodpecker on the grass below. A pair have nested in this area for several years.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull and his mate, forced off their favourite spot on the Dell restaurant roof by renovation work, are back again. I think they nest on the roof, but you can't see that from the ground.

The young Grey Herons are still staying obstinately in their nest. Evidently their indulgent parents are still feeding these hulking teenagers, who ought to be looking after themselves.

A very dull picture taken near the east end of the island, but it's good news. This is the pair of Great Crested Grebes one of which was trapped inside a wire basket for three days and rescued by Mateusz, so she has survived her ordeal.

Things were confused near the bridge. A grebe was sitting on the nest under the oak tree, just visible through the leaves.

Only a short distance away, a pair were displaying under the willow next to the bridge.

And another pair were just the other side of the bridge, circling threateningly and snarling as if the willow belonged to them. In these situations it's hard to know which birds belong where.

Farther up the Long Water, the single chick was sitting on a parent's back.

The Moorhen nest in the hawthorn on the Dell restaurant terrace still seems to be active. One Moorhen was climbing about in the tree before flying down into the water.

After a good deal of indecision and the partial building of an enormous nest in open water a short way off, these Coots have decided to nest in their usual spot just above the weir where water flows out of the Serpentine. The young are inevitably swept over the edge -- but last year one of them survived, trapped in the chamber under the weir but fed by its parents until it was strong enough to climb out.

The mother of one of the broods of Egyptian goslings protected her young from a Magpie which had sauntered past to bathe in the lake.

The Bar-Headed--Greylag Goose hybrid seems to have a Greylag mate. Any offspring would be three-eights Bar-Headed. It's getting a bit complicated.

The lake is thick with chironomid midges. This one was on a wall in the loggia of the Italian Garden, where I was sheltering during a shower. Heaven knows what species it is -- there are hundreds of genera, let alone species, of these little insects.


  1. That’s interesting-one of the Bar-headed hybrids in St James’s Park was going round with a Greylag the other day. It chased a rival Greylag away very noisily with much beating of wings, and then went back to show off to its own Greylag!

    1. I think there's only one pure Bar-Head in St James's Park, an old pinioned female who is both the mother and the grandmother of this one. Birds are more resistant to the effects of inbreeding than mammals.

  2. Hi Ralph,

    the Egyptian mother managed to stamp on one of the goslings later this afternoon, he was belly up and she was standing on him with one foot, he later had troubles getting up and kept falling over to the ground. After about 5 mins he seemed okayish and then all of them swam off to the island. Poor thing he is also smaller than the two siblings. Maybe adopted or maybe girls tend to be smaller goslings. I hope he will be alive tomorrow:/

    1. Egyptians really are no good at all at parenting. The only way the species has survived is through huge fertility.

  3. Those Heron teenagers look traumatized to me Seriously. No wonder they refuse to leave their nest.

    On the other hand, how lovely to have such great news about the rescued Grebe! I never tire of watching them dance, or lovingly carry their pretty stripey babies on their back. They are adorable even when they snarl.

    1. Yes, grebes are special. Imagine what life would be like if, every time your husband went out of sight for ten minutes and then you saw him again, you felt the need to have a ceremonial dance with him.

  4. Would it have been those midges that the female Mallard was going crazy for in yesterday's vid, before the Red-Crested Pochard pounces? Jim

    1. Yes, I think so. They're everywhere now. Pied Wagtails and Great Crested Grebes are also feasting on them.